NSW health workers under COVID-19 stress

(AP Photo/Jefferson Bernardes)

A major Sydney hospital and two nursing homes are dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks as health care workers come under stress while the Delta strain of the virus continues to surge.

Thirty-six staff at Westmead Hospital are reportedly in isolation after a vaccinated colleague who worked three shifts last week while infectious tested positive.

There are now 232 COVID-19 patients in Sydney hospitals and NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association head Brett Holmes says it’s putting the system under stress as the latest outbreak stretches into its seventh week with no reprieve in sight.

“We know that Westmead ICU has been operating frequently with 15 staff short on a shift,” he told ABC Radio on Tuesday.

“We now understand that they’ve been hit by a COVID exposure this week that has led to up to 20 nurses and 10 doctors who are currently in isolation until they can be cleared.”

It comes as the number of COVID-19 cases at Wyoming Nursing Home in Summer Hill rose to 18 residents and two staff members.

Another contract staffer at another nursing home, St Hedwig Village at Blacktown, has also reportedly tested positive for the virus but no other cases have been identified so far.

All residents on one floor at the Wyoming Nursing Home have been taken to hospital as a precaution. 

Meanwhile, teachers unions are calling on the government to rethink its plan to get Year 12 back to school on August 16.

NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos says “it is just far too early” considering the state is recording more than 200 new COVID-19 cases a day.

“This premature proposal to see year 12 return, it could see up to 600 young adults and teachers on any one site,” he told the Nine Network.

“The evidence tells us that the greatest contributor to transmission are worksites and human interactions. 

“Our schools are work sites – 300, 400, 500 people, Year 12 and teachers, on one site engaging in human interaction.”

NSW recorded 207 new local COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday, as well as the outbreak’s 15th death – a man in his 90s.

Of the 207 new cases, 40 per cent were in southwest Sydney and 25 per cent were in western Sydney. At least 72 of the cases were in the community while infectious.

The Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour regions have been in lockdown since late June and aren’t expected to exit stay at home restrictions until at least late August. 


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